Meet a Member – John Heaney

Hi John, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’m an overly proud native of Anaconda, Montana, where I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family of seven. I graduated high school in 1997, enrolled at the University of Montana, and pretty much have been in Missoula ever since, except for a few years. I have an awesome wife, Sasha, who I’ve known (and have had a mad crush on) since we met at daycare when were four years old. She didn’t wise up and start dating me until we were in our mid-20s, though. We have two rad kids: Madeline, who’s nine, and little Charlie, who’s almost ten months. I’m a word nerd, and I’ve been a journalist for almost 12 years. I’ve worked as a sports writer and editor at newspapers in Anaconda, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Missoula, but for the past five years, I’ve been the editor-in-chief of the Montanan, which is UM’s magazine. I love my job. I get to learn and write about topics ranging from the human brain to the Harlem Globetrotters. Plus having my own office on campus is sweet.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I’ve been on a “path to fitness” for almost two years now. Through working with a trainer and eating low-carb, I’ve lost 55 pounds. But my trainer recently got a new job and quit working with me, so I needed something new. I tried working out on my own, but I missed the structure and the camaraderie of training with a partner. Enter CrossFit. I was told that 5 Valleys was the best box in Missoula, so I tried it out. I’ve been at it for six weeks now, and I’m hooked.

We first met at the Olympic Lifting class that 5 Valleys offers on Thursday nights. What drew you to those classes?

The opportunity to learn and improve drew me in. I’m a bit nervous about holding heavy weights over my head, so the more practice I get, the better I’ll become. Cleans and snatches are totally new movements for me, so the Oly class gives me a chance to hone my technique. And the classes I’ve been to were rather small, so I got some great individual coaching.

[note: the Olympic Lifting class is available to all members of 5 Valleys on Thursday nights at 5:30pm]

You’re relatively new to CrossFit, what has been the hardest part of getting into this sport for you?

Honestly, the hardest part about CrossFit is not gushing about it to everyone and becoming a stereotypical “CrossFit Bro.” I’m hooked, and I want people to know what a great thing it is. Of course the workouts are hard, and all of the new movements are difficult (and sometimes frustrating), but to me, that challenge is the fun part.

Do you have any specific fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in the next year?

Right now, since I’m so new to this, I just want to keep getting better with every workout. It’s a learning process, but – especially with the coaches we have – I feel like I can improve every day and eventually choose specific goals to accomplish. (Like a sit-up, consecutive double-unders, a full workout at the prescribed weight.) Long term, I think it would be awesome to not be scared to do a workout with my shirt off. Not that I ever would, but to conquer that fear would be so rad.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen physically and mentally since starting CrossFit?

Physically, I’ve noticed I’m not nearly as doughy as I was, and I’m a bit more toned. Those physical results will come, but I need to be patient. Mentally, though, is where I’ve noticed the biggest impact. For example, I cranked out five strict pull-ups the other day. The euphoria I felt was amazing. I love the sense of accomplishment and the end of a workout. I’m totally spent, but I know I finished it, and that’s a powerful feeling.

Who is one action hero from a movie that you’d like to be, and why?

This is a great question. I guess I’d have to say I’d like to be Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves in the 1991 classic Point Break. He’s cool, he played football, he learns to surf, he gets to skydive, he gets the girl, and he is an F…B…I…agent. (And it’s a travesty that this movie is being remade.)

When we don’t see you at the gym what are you most likely to be doing?

Well with two kids, I spend most of my time with family. I’m also a huge sports fan, especially Griz basketball, so we go to as many games as we can. But my true passion is golf. I’ve played for 20-plus years, and I love it. It’s a sport where you can always improve, kind of like CrossFit. (And yes, I just compared CrossFit to golf.) Perfection is unattainable in both. There’s always a putt I could have made, or maybe a heavier lift I could’ve done. It’s the challenge that keeps me coming back.

Thanks John!

Coach Ryan

Hi Ryan, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.
I grew up in Western Montana and graduated from Charlo high school in 2006.
I played baseball, basketball, football and ran track. After school I joined the Montana Army National Guard to pay for college. I ended up going to school a little later than I wanted but I’m now in my senior year and I’m pumped for it to be done.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?
Ive been CrossFitting for 4 years now. During my first year of college in 2011 my girlfriend at the time (now my fiancé), Samantha recommended it. It got set up through the program at the university and fell instantly in love with the workouts and the people I surrounded myself with there.

How did you get into coaching?
Coaching was always something I was interested in, but I didn’t get into it until 2014. Ian and Liz were about to buy the gym from Dave, Dave introduced me to Ian and it was pretty much that simple. I went and got my cert a few weeks later and then I came back and jumped into coaching classes. Best job I’ve ever had hands down.

What is your favorite part about coaching?
I really enjoy watching people improve and grow as athletes, it might be the most satisfying part of the job. I also love seeing motivate each other.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2015?
I’d love to get my snatch to 225, clean to 265 and back squat to 330 by February.

Do you see yourself getting more into the competitive side of CrossFit and going to more competitions?
I love competing in competitions. I will go to any that I am able to. With work, an internship, national guard, and school I don’t always have the time unfortunately.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside the gym and work?
Spending time with Samantha and our dogs is at the top of the list, pretty much doing anything with them is a great time. I love to snowboard and get out into the snow, hang out on the river and lake in the summer. Unproductive activities are some of my favorites.

You’re looking to join the Police Force correct? What is drawing you into that field and where do you hope it takes you?
Yep, I’ve been interning with the Missoula Police Department for the last year. I really enjoy the ever-changing day-to-day work that they encounter. I believe I could make a difference in the community and would love to be given the opportunity to do just that. If I am hired I’d like to work towards k9 or street crimes.

Well Ryan I know I enjoy having you as a coach and am glad that you’re at 5 Valleys. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the members reading this interview?
It may be cliché but fitness is a marathon, not sprint. Take the time to dial in technique and practice movements and footwork. Also don’t take yourself too seriously.

Meet a Member – Samuel Mandell

Hi Samuel, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I grew up in San Diego, went to college in Orange County, and moved up to the Silicon Valley after college to work in tech. I did that for seven years at Microsoft and before deciding that I needed to move on from that life and into something new. My work had become stale and I was feeling very stuck, unable to know what it was I wanted to do, and seemingly unable to do anything about it.

At the end of 2013 Liz (my wife) and I quit our jobs, got married, and then moved to Ennis, Montana to housesit for a friend who very generously gave us use of her house as she was trying to sell it. We stayed in Ennis for 10 months before realizing it was too small and then moved to Missoula.

I now run my own coaching business called The Little Yes, which helps individuals who feel stuck in their jobs as I once did to find clarity to move forward into a career they will love.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I had friends who joined a new gym across the street from my workplace called CrossFit Mountain View. This was the first satellite gym of the now enormous and well-know NorCal CrossFit group of gyms. I remember going to the on-ramp class and realizing how out of shape and in trouble I was. My legs would be going numb and feel like jello after the warm-up, and I would have no idea how I was going to get through the workouts.

That was 4 years ago and I’ve been crossfitting for almost 3 years total now (took a break in between to try something else). It is the ONLY exercise system that has worked for me because it gives me structure. All I have to do is commit to show up at the gym, and the coaches take care of the rest. I’m stronger and in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life and I just love it.

What would your dream CrossFit workout look like?

I really love EMOM (every-minute-on-the-minute) style workouts. I like that there is some small set of work that we do, get a small rest, and then perform it again. I feel like I’m able to get into a good rhythm and give every movement my all since I know that I’ll get some rest in just a few seconds (versus having to grind through for 10 minutes until a workout is over to get some rest).

What would your nightmare workout look like?

Whitten. It was the last workout I did (scaled) at my previous gym in California and it took me 44 minutes and 55 seconds (5 seconds under the cut-off). For those of you not familiar here it is:

Five rounds for time of:
22 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood
22 Box jump, 24 inch box
Run 400 meters
22 Burpees
22 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?

Wally and Buck. FOR SURE. It’s a new hamburger food truck that’s usually at Kettlehouse South and their burgers are out-of-control-good.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in the next year?

My wife Liz and I are starting to come to the gym three times a week instead of two and I’m very curious about what kinds of gains we’ll see. My goals would be to learn to do double-unders, string together toes-to-bar, and be able to do ring dips without a band.

Why are you interviewing yourself?

I’ve come onboard the 5 Valleys Crossfit team to handle member interviews, so many of you will be contacted by me over the next few weeks and months to be interviewed. Don’t worry, I’m a really nice guy… usually 🙂

Is it weird interviewing yourself?

Not at all! As an introvert (or crazy person) I actually talk to myself all the time.

I hear 5 Valleys CrossFit is offering a new and very unique service to its members, FOR FREE! Can you tell us about it?

The coaches at 5 Valleys do an AWESOME job providing feedback about our movements and performance. Sometimes though we just need to see what we’re doing for ourselves before it will really click.

With that in mind 5 Valleys is offering a new service for the Olympic Lifting class that I will be assisting with, which is to film participants doing their lifts in slow motion (at 120 frames per second) and email them their personal edited videos after the class. This will allow them to review their lifts and pick up small issues that they need to work on.

All you need to do to take advantage of this service is show up to the Olympic lifting class on Thursday evening at 5:30pm and let me know that you’d like to be filmed. It’s a very casual process and I’ve already been hearing feedback from members that it was really helpful to get these videos.

When we don’t see you at the gym what are you most likely to be doing?

I’m likely at the Break Espresso cafe working and trying not to listen in on other people’s conversations. During dinner time I’m probably trying a new recipe and forgetting to taste the food before I serve it (I just started cooking last year). On weekends I’m hopefully outdoors and on a hike with my beautiful wife.

Meet a Member – Corey Regini

Hi Corey, tell us about yourself, where you grew up, work, school, family etc.
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa and I’m the oldest of four kids. I went to HS in Milwaukee, Wi and moved to Missoula to go to college. In HS I was on the soccer team and also on the football team! I was the kicker. I graduated from UM in 2009 with a BS in chemistry. I started working at the KettleHouse that July and I’m still there. I’ve worked most of the jobs on the production side of the brewery: canning line, filter operator, packaging manager and brewer. Currently, I am the Lead Brewer at the Northside which is our production brewery. Every KH can gets brewed and canned at the Northside. My original recipes include Sapped Out Maple Stout, Female Cream Ale and Cooler Times Kolsch Style Ale. I am also heavily involved in the Pink Boots Society and started the Montana Chapter.

What were you doing before CrossFit and what made you want to get into it?
Before I starting doing Crossfit I was just a runner. My brother introduced me to Crossfit and I’m hooked. I took a break from crossfit in the spring of 2014 when I was training for the Missoula marathon. I ending up finishing the marathon in 6 hours flat. I broke my foot between miles 12 and 13. I have a little bit of a competitive spirit and was determined to finish my first marathon. I did not know my foot was broken. After missing a month of work and 6 months of exercise I rejoined crossfit and haven’t looked back. I completed my second half marathon in July in a new personal best of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

You’ve been seeing some awesome results the last few months can you talk a bit about what those are and how you got there?
After the half marathon I upped my crossfit membership to unlimited. I’ve been coming five days a week for the past two months. I did see improvements coming two days a week but recently my gains have been exponential. I’m down 22lbs and 8.5% body fat. In the spring I completed the drop it like its hot challenge and that helped me get back on the mostly paleo eating train. I also am so much stronger now. I recently PR’d my back squat, push-press, snatch and power clean!


What keeps you motivated and training regularly at 5 Valleys CrossFit?
I keep coming back to 5 Valleys Crossfit for so many reasons! First off, I have seen such an improvement in not only my physical appearance but my mental health. I am so much happier. I’ve found its easier to succeed with the amazing support 5 Valleys Crossfit provides. Ian and Liz are great coaches and resources when I have other questions. I love how the workouts are constantly changing and always challenging. All of the coaches are great! They are constantly encouraging, providing technique tips and pushing me to lifting just a little more. I would not have seen the improvements I made with out the coaches! I also really enjoy the other members of the gym. Everyone is constantly encouraging each other and providing tips or personal experiences. 5 Valleys isn’t just a gym its a lifestyle and a family.

As lead brewer at the Northside Kettlehouse you’ve got easy access to a lot of beer. How do you keep yourself in check and do you have any tips for avoiding temptation for others?
Working at the brewery can be challenging while trying to meet healthy eating goals. Do I drink beer?! Heck yes I do! However, I have significantly cut down on the number of beers I drink. I could have a pint after every shift I work but instead I choose to attend a crossfit class or walk my dogs. Instead of having two beers I have one and take my time to enjoy it. I also have a terrible sweet tooth. I highly encourage people to participate in one of the challenges that 5 Valleys puts on or even a 21 day sugar detox. Both of these helped me get my sweet tooth under control and I can honestly say I rarely eat sweets these days. I also bought a local Community Garden Share this year. This has forced me to eat way more vegetables. I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has also made me try vegetables I would never buy. Turns out I like damn near vegetable you can grow in Missoula!


What are your goals for the last few months of 2015?
My fitness goals for the rest of 2015 are to continue to get stronger and get leaner! I know my welcome card to the 200lb squat club is right around the corner as well as the more than five pull ups club!

What would your favorite Pandora station be to workout to?
I am a horrible DJ. I honestly love most stations that are played at the gym, except Country. Rap and hiphop stations are my kind of workout music.

When we can’t find you at the gym or brewing beer at work where will you most likely be?
If I’m not brewing or at the gym you would definitely find me in my kitchen!! I love to cook, pretty much nonstop! And otherwise I’d be spend time with my boyfriend and my two dogs!

Meet a Member – Rebecca Miller

Hi Rebecca tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I grew up in Frenchtown and have lived in the Missoula area all my life except for about 8 months when Jon and I were in Alaska. We have been married for 10 years and have a beautiful 2 year old, Hunter. In the winter we usually do alot of snowmobiling but the past couple of years I haven’t gone as much. Then as soon as spring hits we are making plans for trips to the sand dunes. We have a couple four-wheelers and a sandrail we’ll take this year. Jon just got the rail running and it has been a challenge to keep Hunter out of it. He definately has the motorhead bug like Dad. If Jon’s outside Hunter is usually crying at the door to go out too. I love that about Hunter. He is pretty content to be anywhere, but he would much rather be outside. I work for Missoula County in the medical benefits department. I enjoy my job but I sit alot so I try to be up on my feet at home.

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?

I am pretty bad at anything that requires catching, hitting, or throwing a ball. I ran crosscountry and track in highschool. Running was pretty much the only thing I did to work out with maybe a little weight training. I’m not very fast but its something I do enjoy. I always say I’m slow but steady. I’ve ran some 5K races but proud to say I ran the Missoula Marathon a couple of years ago. It was alot of training and time commitment but total worth it. It was alot of fun.

What made you decide to give CrossFit a go and how long have you been at it?

After having Hunter I was having a hard time finding the time to work out on my own. I knew I needed to sign up for a class where I would have to be a little more accountable for showing up. Jon was overseas and joined a crossfit gym on the base. He really liked it and noticed a huge difference. I watched the crossift games on TV. I was a little intimidated to join but I was also excited to make a change. I’ve been doing crossfit for about 9 months and love it.

What 5 Valleys members inspire and motivate you to keep working hard?

I think everyone keeps me motivated to work hard. I love the support. Even when I’m one of the last ones to finish there’s people who cheer you on to the end. The atmosphere is great. I try not to compare myself to others very much. It just makes me frustrated. I just keep competing against myself and as long as I keep improving I’m happy.

Do you have a favorite and least favorite exercise and if so what are they?

I think my least favorite exercise is the row machine. I’m getting better at it but if you give me a choice I would much rather run. My favorite exercise is back squats. I also didn’t like push press very much, but I feel like I’m improving so lately I’ve actually like those too.

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?

My favorite place to eat is Ciao Mambos. Jon and I will go there and share the nachos. They are so good! Last time they even brought out some dough for Hunter to make shapes with. They would have baked it for him but he ate it instead.

What is your top choice for workout music?

This is kind of a hard question to answer for me because I listen to pretty much anything. Honestly most of the time during crossfit I tend to tune out the music unless it’s turned up real loud. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this but the best music to run to is the Top Gun and Footloose soundtracks. Footloose has a good beat and Iceman and Maverick make me motivated to move faster:).

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2015?

I want to keep improving all around but focus on my upper body strength. I’d like to do pull-ups without the band. I’d also like to loose a litte around the middle. I’ve cut out a lot of the processed carbs in my diet and have already noticed a difference. I’ve also noticed I feel a lot better and have more energy.

It’s starting to get nicer and nicer out. What are your favorite things to do in the summertime?

I pretty much enjoy anything as long as it’s outside but I like to go camping in the mountains. I think I like it most because you just leave everything behind. There’s no chores and I’m not thinking about what time it is.

Meet a Member – Chris Sharp

Hi Chris tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I have been a truck driver for baker commodities for the last seven years. I have a wife of 17 years, son Ashton 8, & daughter Angela 20. I like to hunt, fish, camp, bike, hike…really anything outdoors. Occasionally, I like to do projects around the house. We have lived in west riverside for the past five years.

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?

I did some 5k runs, Insanity and t25 workout DVDs, and a little bit of weight lifting.

What made you decide to give CrossFit a go and how long have you been at it?

I was looking for a new challenge and thought I would like to have actual coaching and instruction rather than just follow along to DVDs. I wanted to learn new exercises and have more variety in my workouts vs same same routines on videos. I’ve been at 5 Valleys since November and it was everything I had been looking for and more.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen physically and mentally since starting CrossFit?

I feel way better about myself both physically and mentally. I’ve lost weight, gotten a ton stronger and have a lot more energy. I can now do many things that I could not do when I first started and it’s awesome to continually learn and improve with every workout.

You competed in the CrossFit Open this year. What did you think about it and what did you learn?

It was awesome, scary and fun. I was very nervous about it but wanted to take the challenge. I learned I can’t take it too seriously and the most important thing is to have fun and give your best effort. It was also great having everyone around participating and cheering you on.

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?

River City Grill, Local good food. (and taco del sol)

What is your top choice for workout music?

Anything loud and fast

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2015?

Nothing specific just want to keep on improving and enjoying myself.
It’s starting to get nicer and nicer out. What are your favorite things to do in the summertime?
Camp, Fish, …and an upcoming house remodel!!! Which is exciting at least right now anyway:)

Meet a Member – Amy Capolupo

Meet Amy!!

Hi Amy tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.
I am 36 years old and grew up in Rockland County, New York. Rockland is a suburb located about 30 minutes from New York City. My parents, older sister and her family still live there and it is great to go back and get my big city fix every couple of years. I also have a younger brother who lives in Florida and I enjoy visiting him too, especially when Missoula is gray, cold, and rainy. I originally, came to Missoula in 1998 to finish my undergrad and I totally fell in love with Montana. I didn’t know anyone here at the time, but this was truly the place I had dreamt about since I was a kid: mountains, rivers, star-filled night skies, rainbows etc. The fact that I could go hiking and float the river without having to get in the car was mind-blowing and it something I will never take for granted. When I am not staring off into the sunset, geeking out about cooking, minimalist living, or CrossFit, I am busy at work at the University of Montana in the Disability Services for Students office. I am going into my eleventh year there and it is really a fantastic place to work.

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?
In high school I spent a couple years on a canoe racing team, and I did roller derby when it first started here in Missoula. Beyond that, my exercise really just consisted of taking my dog, Moses, to all the regular Missoula spots: Blue Mountain, Waterworks, the North Hills, Pattee Canyon, and to the Bitterroot Valley on the weekends.

What made you decide to give CrossFit a go and how long have you been at it?
I was with some friends in Portland that were there for a Spartan race, and I asked them about their training. They said they did CrossFit-style workouts and that I should look into it if I was serious about improving my fitness. Later that evening I was at an outdoor cafe in Northeast Portland, and this group of men and women walked in and sat at the table in front of me. They made have well as been the poster children for CrossFit – knee socks, tee-shirts about the types of “cleaning” they were into – and they appeared to have just left the gym . I took it as a sign to get myself moving, and when I got back to Missoula I called around to a few CrossFit gyms and got signed-up with 5 Valleys. That was a year and seven months ago.

Amy I know box jumps used to be your nemesis but you’ve been practicing hard and are now knocking them out on a box instead of plates which is super rad!! How much extra practice did it take to get better and what other movements are you working on?
It took a lot of extra practice! Physically, at first, and then it was all mental. For other people box jumps were so simple but not me! I stacked plates next to the box, jumped on curbs, park benches, hay bales, and even my couch. Hell, I even led myself through a guided meditation. Then one day I just said to myself, “screw it, enough already!” and I jumped on the damn box. Coach Emily was pretty helpful and got me over my final box jump flaw (hopping before actually jumping). In total it took me a year and five months to get that jump, but now it’s mine! The next movement I would like to get is a pull-up. I plan on practicing negatives and going from two red bands to one, knowing it is going to take me a while to be able to get the prescribed reps. But no worries, I will get there.

Are there any members at 5 Valleys that inspire you to keep working hard?
All of the members have inspired me, at different times, and for different reasons. For example, last week Carol’s “moderate” row pace for the 8 minute row was a sub 2, Katie and Whitney’s one max rep on the clean and jerks was impressive, Brad was nailing the clean and press, and when I came in on Friday night I saw Meredith pulling hard to get through the last set of wall balls. The week before that, it was Steve and Liz with muscle-up’s, the week before it was watching people training for the CrossFit open. Sue always pushes me to add just a little more to the bar and got me to sign up for a 10k in effort to learn to love the run. Also, I am inspired by what people are doing outside of the gym, things like RATPOD, The Rut, or when I hear people talk about things like being good parents, partners, and students. When I was working on my run this weekend, I thought about someone who is strong enough to do eight continuous handstand push-ups. I used that thought as my motivation to push through for another 30 seconds.

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?
I really like cooking for myself, but when I go out I like Scotty’s for brunch. They have great outdoor seating plus they have seared greens – seared is not steamed, and they know the difference! I like the Red Bird wine bar for fancy burgers, salads, or house-made sausage. Plus, they have cider that is made in the Bitterroot and it’s delicious. When I’m short on time, I like Good Food Store or Five on Black because you can make some pretty good “fast” food choices. That said, if you want something that is just good because it is bad, I’d choose Flippers: pitchers of beer, greasy bar menu, TVs, and watching your sport of choice, enjoy!

What type of music do you most like to workout to?
Generally I like to workout to the cardio-versions of what is popular on the radio, right now that would be Pit-Bull, Ne-Yo, and Maroon 5. I am happy with the 70’s and 80’s cardio rock you guys play too.

Tell us what an ideal Saturday would look like for you?
Depends on the season, but basically it involves waking up early and getting in a good work-out, then stealthily sneaking around town getting my chores done, be it gardening, hiking the dog, farmers market, cleaning the car – ideally all before 10am. From that point, the plan would be to have no specific plans. I may end up meeting friends, I may end-up going for a hike and laying on a rock in the sun with a good book, heading to the river, or something even more impromptu like heading to Glacier or Seeley for the weekend. No matter what, the ideal Saturday always leaves a fair amount of room for the unexpected, so basically the exact opposite of me on every other day. I have got to balance out the routine somehow!

Meet a Member – Tobin Shearer

Meet Tobin!

Hi Tobin tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.
I’ve been Cheryl’s life partner for just shy of thirty years. We have two wonderful sons – Dylan and Zachary – now graduated from college and living in Chicago and Flagstaff at the moment. I’ve worked as a history professor and director of African-American studies at the University of Montana for the last seven years.

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?
For several decades I ran 5-6 times a week, having picked up the habit after running cross-country in high school and for a short-time in college. I did a bit of wrestling, volleyball, and pole vaulting in high school as well, but didn’t pursue those sports later on. I’ve run a couple of marathons, a handful of half-marathons, and a bunch of 5-Ks, but my competitive running days are now past.

What made you decide to give CrossFit a go and how long have you been at it?
I damaged my right foot by running in “barefoot shoes.” While going through physical therapy for that injury, I tried long-distance biking, but never felt like I was getting a good workout. Friends from Seattle suggested that I give CrossFit a try. That was three years ago. I’ve enjoyed every day since.

Tobin I know you like to tell your wife all about your CrossFit workouts. How interested is she and do you annoy anyone else with all your CF talk?
Cheryl tolerates my recitation of the daily WOD – with a few eye rolls in the process. We enjoy dinner with a group of friends each week and the minute I say something like, “Well, today in Crossfit . . . .” I am greeted by good-natured howls of protest. They enjoy teasing me about whether I “did” Cindy or Grace or Fran that day.

You travel quite a lot and have visited lots of different CrossFits all over. Besides us of course, tell us about one or two of your favorite ones and why you liked them so much?
A box in New York City impressed me with how many people they could fit into very little space; a box in Jackson, Mississippi, amazed me by how they were able to sweat out intense WODs in the midst of a sweltering, un-air-conditioned gym; I really enjoyed working out with folks at a San Diego box where they had set a gym-wide group goal of improving their push-ups. Of the three-dozen or so boxes I’ve worked at across the country, I’ve been welcomed and included at every one.

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?
Caffé Dolce on Brooks has won a soft spot in my heart. Not only is it a wonderful, airy place, but the food is incredible. A former Five Valleys Crossfit member used to give me a glass of champagne every time I visited, but – alas – she moved to Philadelphia.

Tell us what an ideal Saturday would look like for you?
Getting up and completing an 8:30 WOD, having a big breakfast, going for a hike with Cheryl and our dog Jenny, and finishing the day with dinner at Caffé Dolce with friends.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2015?
Working out five days a week is my first goal. I’d like to get past 200# in my clean and past 150# in my push press.

When we don’t see you at the gym what are you most likely to be doing?
Lecturing in class, working at my computer on my current book project, or riding my bike – my students call it my “freedom ride” in honor of the research and teaching I do on the civil rights movement (and which my sons call the “nerd-cycle”) – to and from campus.

Meet a Member – Nick Benson

Meet Nick!

Hi Nick tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’m originally from Illinois, where my parents currently still live. I have one older brother who lives in Sandpoint, ID working as a firefighter/EMT. Last fall semester I finished up school at the University. In May I will graduate with University honors and a degree in Geography and a double minor in Mountain Studies and International Development Studies. Currently, I work at the new City Brew on Reserve and Brooks, and in a couple weeks I will start training at a group home with the Partnership For Children. I also recently applied to the Missoula Rural Fire Residency Program, with hopes of pursing a career in EMS/Firefighting.

Now looking at that old photo of you seem quite hungry. Have you changed your eating habits since starting CrossFit?

Big time. I used to eat a lot of carbs, pasta, breads, and cereals. Food that’s good, but really doesn’t do much. When I first started Crossfit I did a Whole 30 challenge. That got me eating the right food, and eating at a higher volume. My typical morning breakfast is a large pan covered in bacon with eggs and a handful of mixed veggies cooked in the bacon grease (my mom wants me to get my cholesterol checked).

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?

I grew up mostly playing soccer and basketball. I did a couple seasons of track (1600m and 800m), and a season of lacrosse. In high school I really didn’t play many sports at all, but instead was really involved in music. I played in the Symphony Orchestra, pit orchestra, and even sang in choir my senior year. Since coming out to Montana I’ve been doing a lot of skiing and hiking.

You are doing the CrossFit Open for the first time this year. What do you think of it so far and what advice would you give someone who’s thinking about doing it next year?

It’s been awesome! I would suggest that everyone do it regardless of skill level. After two events I already have multiple things I would like to work on. You do a workout and then think, “man if only I had (insert movement; snatches, C2B) down better I could have scored so much higher!” It’s an awesome Saturday morning where everyone is cheering on everyone.

Tell us what your absolute least favorite workout would look like?
I couldn’t tell you. I think I like it all. Maybe if there was a metcon with a strict shoulder press. There’s a lot of hero WODs I still need to try, I’m sure it’ll be one of those. Most likely, Fran.

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?
I love the Good Food Store. It’s pretty much the ultimate one-stop shop. Coffee, smoothies, pre-made salads, grass-fed beef, organic veggies. Yum..

What is your top choice for workout music?
Underground hip-hop. Jedi Mind Tricks,Mobb Deep, GZA, Masta Ace, Living Legends, anything along those lines.

What about 5 Valleys keeps you training hard and coming back for more?
Above all else, the people! I love the coaches and members. I’ve dropped in at a couple gyms while traveling, and 5 Valleys has the best community of people. I’ve met a ton of awesome people while Crossfitting, and a lot of them push me everyday to work harder in and out of the gym.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2015?
Oh man.. you bet. I could probably give you a weight for every Olympic lift. Plus, I’m always trying to get better at gymnastic movements. I recently watched a documentary about Mikko Salo. He’s one badass dude. I would love to develop more mental strength, and be able to push myself hard in that “dark place,” like he does.

When we don’t see you at the gym what are you most likely to be doing?

Hanging with my lovely lady friend Alexis Schreder 🙂 And we’re mostly likely watching Crossfit Youtube videos.

Meet a Member – Christine Hutchison

Meet Christine!

Hi Christine tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’m a Montana native. I grew up just outside Helena and have been living in Missoula for about ten years now. I went to the University of Montana and majored in Enlgish Literature and minored in Spanish. One summer I decided to work for the Forest Service as a wildland firefighter figuring I would just do it for a year or two until I graduated, but now I’m going into my fourth season and still love it (most of the time!). It’s definitely a long way off from English Literature, but I enjoy it. This winter I’ve been working as a nanny for two little kids, a 17 month old and a 3 year old. They’re awesome, active kids and it’s been an enjoyable change of pace from fire.

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?

I was obsessed with soccer growing up. Both my brother and I played since we were little, and my mom coached and refereed for a while. During college I got into trail running and backpacking. I also have done a lot of biking, both mountain and road biking and have done a few long distance cycling tours. Other than that, I did some circuit training and cycling classes at the gym.

What made you decide to give CrossFit a go and how long have you been at it?

I had been curious about it for quite a while. This year I decided I wanted to try and get on the Lewis and Clark Hotshots and knew I needed something a little more structured that would push and challenge me. It’s been about two months and I love it. It’s still early on, but I definitely think this is the strongest I’ve ever been, and I’ve still got a long way to go.

CrossFit has a bit of a cult reputation. Are you like most CrossFitters and annoy all your friends by talking about it all the time?

Ha! Sometimes. If you run into me right after working out I’m usually pretty obnoxiously wound up. I try to only talk about it to friends from fire, or friends I’ve worked out with for years who actually have some interest in it. I definitely don’t use crossfit acronyms and lingo like “WOD” or “AMRAP” talking to people, but most friends and family definitely know I do it!

You got your first toe to bar the other day way to go!! What’s the next movement/exercise you want to be able to check off the list?

Thanks! I’ve been trying to get that one for a while. Next is definitely strict pull-ups. I have been trying to get them for years. That’s the big one, but I would also like to get handstand push-ups and get better at the Power Snatch.

What is your favorite place to eat in Missoula and why?

I love the Redbird wine bar. I don’t go there often, but they have great food and wine and I like the mellow atmosphere. On the cheaper end, Five On Black. Their food is delicious, cheap, and pretty healthy.

What is your top choice for workout music?

I tend to listen to music I wouldn’t listen to outside of working out. It’s a weird mix of pop and rap and lots of Girl Talk.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2015?

I just want to get faster and stronger. I feel pretty comfortable pulling out long distance runs, but I’m pretty slow at any distance. Pretty basic I guess, but that’s what I’m focusing on.

When we don’t see you at the gym what are you most likely to be doing?

Probably doing something outside, reading a book, or drinking coffee at Le Petit Outre.